The Counseling Process for Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Mental health and substance abuse, or dual diagnosis, are a lethal combination that can be exclusive of one another, as someone with mental health issues are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to escape their symptoms.
Many websites and advertisements claim that counseling is the best option for those suffering from both diseases but few explain how. Counseling addresses mental health and substance abuse together through its extensive process stages to bring the patient up to the best version of themselves.
First Stage: Assessment
During the assessment of mental health stage of substance abuse treatment, the counselors will work to identify the disorder(s) that the patient is suffering from. According to Medline Plus, the most common mental health issues that often accompany a substance abuse problem include
- and personality disorders
Once the dual diagnosis has been specified, the patient will be assigned counselors to treat their specific mental illness and medication may be brought in to help with the symptoms.
Often, it is the mental illness that convinces the addict to abuse drugs or alcohol to begin with and many facilities recognize that this is the best place to start the treatment.
Then Comes Addiction Treatment
When the counselor has concentrated the treatment to cater specifically to the patients mental health needs, he or she will work to address the addiction. The treatment for dual diagnosis is more extensive because they are treating two conditions at once, so it may be more deliberate than the standard rehab programs.
At this stage, the counselor may suggest medication to aid with withdrawal symptoms and begin to discuss why the addiction began.
Holistic Treatment Options
While not all dual diagnosis centers offer a holistic treatment option, many will in order to help their patients to find constructive ways to deal with their addiction and mental illness.
Holistic treatments are programs that work to balance the body, spirit, and mind so that the patient can live a peaceful life with new coping methods. Those rehab centers who offer this type of treatment are usually ranked highest in success and low relapse rate for their dual diagnosis patients.
Cognitive-Behavioral Modification Therapy
Many of those who suffer from mental illness fall prey to addiction because they will temporarily create a sense of euphoria that gets the individual away from their symptoms.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy aids in helping people in treatment to seek their own new solutions to their issues by putting a focus on behavior, thought process and emotions and connecting them to organized goal-oriented strategies.
This stage further cements the other coping mechanisms the patient may have learned while in treatment so that their chances of permanent recovery are higher.
Relapse Prevention & Reinforcement
After the initial treatment is done, the patient is very likely to go through an outpatient program that will help them to keep up their coping methods while they are out in their lives. These programs will provide a supportive structure and practice accountability for themselves to keep them on track.
After the stress-free environment of inpatient therapy, returning to their lives can be difficult, especially due to bad influences and triggers but with this program, they can have the support of group meetings and counseling.
Having an addiction is scary enough but when added to a mental health issue, it can become even harder to deal with. Counseling helps to give patients a new and better way of coping with their problems after an assessment of their situation and after treatment, the person will be given an opportunity to continue treatment while they are back in their own lives.
It is important to seek help as soon as possible to avoid the dangerous side effects of substance abuse, especially when the patient is suffering from mental health issues.
If you or someone you know is suffering from dual diagnosis, please call 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) to speak with someone who can help.